The New England Patriots led a charmed life during the Tom Brady era, and recently, it has not been all wine and roses for the Robert Kraft-led franchise. The Patriots have been one of the worst teams in the NFL throughout the early part of the 2023 season, and there doesn’t appear to be any urgency inside the organization.
In fact, a recent report suggests that the New England organization may want to hit reset on the entire franchise, including possibly moving on from Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick and losing games on purpose. Are the Patriots in tank mode? Sounds odd given the ‘Patriot Way’ but the organization recognizes it needs abrupt change.
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Are the New England Patriots Actually Tanking?
Outside of the ‘Trust The Process’ Philadelphia 76ers, you will rarely find a professional sports organization transparently tanking a season. But we’re all grown-ups here and can admit it occurs with a wink-wink head nod as teams trot out players who they normally wouldn’t be starting to “get a look at the future.” But really, it’s to lose games and get better draft picks.
The Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi suggested that some within the Patriots organization want more losses than wins.
This is the system we are in. At least in the NBA, they have a weighted lottery selection where the teams with the worst records aren’t guaranteed the top draft picks but rather have to wait anxiously, as a hundred ping-pong balls bouncing around in a cylinder determines the future of their respective franchises — as our forefathers intended.
MORE: New England Patriots Depth Chart
The NFL is set in its ways, and the worst records in the leagues get the best draft picks come NFL Draft time, and that’s just the way it is. Teams who are out of playoff contention have no desire to win football games. Rather, they ache for the franchise cornerstones, particularly at the QB position, who can turn their team around.
Look at Cincinnati, Jacksonville, or the Los Angeles Chargers as examples of teams who chose the right QB, whether it be Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, or Justin Herbert. It immediately shifted the future of the franchise with one organization-altering selection.
Are the Patriots Looking to the 2024 NFL Draft Class?
With Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe under center, why wouldn’t the Patriots consider tanking and building up their firepower to contend in a division with Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, and Aaron Rodgers? New England knows it is woefully outmanned and is finally prepared to do something about it — tank.
Jones has been downright awful in 2023, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. The former Alabama great has thrown five TD passes and seven interceptions (some of the INTs of the unexplainable variety). Jones’ QB rating of 74.4 in 2023 is down from his career pace of 84.4. It would not be shocking to see the New England starting QB get the hook sooner rather than later.
The Patriots must be eyeing the 2024 NFL Draft crop at the QB position. Caleb Williams, the Heisman-winning QB from USC, is the crown jewel. But others carry a similar cache. Drake Maye from North Carolina has prototypical NFL size, while Deion’s son, Shedeur Sanders, carries untapped upside.